Advice on a commuter- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Advice on a commuter

    Looking for some advice on a commuter:
    - Mileage is relatively flat and total 10-15 miles roundtrip
    - Budget is up to $700 or so
    - Preference - road geo/drop bars/single speed/ with ability for fenders and rack (nice to have but not dealbreaker)
    - Frame material either alloy or steel

    I was looking around but have had some troubles finding a good central place for details on various brands/setups. This bike will be a commuter and all-arounder so cheap is good. I have a preference for the single speed and road frame (I currently commute on a caad10) with backpack but just looking for something simpler.

    Some bikes that I saw on bikesdirect looked appealing - any advice on these? I assume that these would work but don't want to get something that's going to break after 1 month. Also, any other brands worth considering?
    Save Up to 60% Off Fixie Aluminum Track Bikes - Dawes SST AL with Carbon Fork
    Save Up to 60% Off Motobecane Track Bikes | SingleSpeed | Fixed Gear - Messenger Track

    I was also looking at another CAAD frame to build out for a dedicated commuter (current one is going to have DA and will be parked in a parking garage as building policy will not allow bikes in building so I don't want to risk it)...so if there are any road frames worth looking at I'm all ears.

  2. #2
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    If you want a steel frame, performance sells a ss cross bike, as does Nashbar. Also, in the same category, the Raleigh furley can sometimes be had around the $700 mark; my lbs is selling the old model at that price. Another thing to consider is if you want gear capability for down the road. The Raleigh does that (Raleigh sells the same frame as a geared bike; I forget its name). Not sure of the performance or Nashbar. I think all three are ss but use a cassette, so the stock wheel can't be fixed.

    Personally, I would be reluctant to commute on a true track bike; not sure if the bd is (I'm on my phone, so browsers are a pain). Just something else to consider.

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  3. #3
    since 4/10/2009
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    I think it's beyond stupid to ride a fixie on the road. If you put brakes on your fixie, that's a big start, but still less than desirable, IMO. Save it for the track. Roads are too unpredictable to go fixed without brakes.

    The Dawes comes with a flip-flop hub and brakes, so I'd ride it SS on the roads.

    In this range of products & price, though, I'd rehab an old bike rather than buy new. I'm no fan of alu on the road.

  4. #4
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    I have been commuting 15 miles a day with a Pure Fix. I'm actually really happy with it. I don't ride it fixed and I have both brakes.

  5. #5
    I'd rather be on my bike
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    Another vote for not going fixed. I tried it, and it is just not safe enough. I am already testing fate using a coaster brake vs rim brakes, but what can I do? Friend of mine has the Performance CX SS and he is very happy with it. I don't remember the total cost, but I want to say that it is within your budget.
    The pedals turn, not just the left one, but the right one too.

  6. #6
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    Curious why all the hate for fixed. I go ss for the winter, and I have a friend who does fixed for the winter. He likes it for the ability to maintain some level of braking even if the brakes aren't working well because of slushy conditions. I like ss for the (lack of) maintenance. I assume fixed is like driving stick in the snow; until you get good at it, it is worse than the alternative, but once you get good at it, you have more control.

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  7. #7
    I'd rather be on my bike
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    I prefer SS for the lack of maintenance as well. If you go fixed with no brakes, and the chain breaks, you have no brakes. If you are going to run brakes, might as well run a freewheel at that point. If the chain breaks on my bike, I am screwed, as I will not be able to stop by any means other than either jumping off the bike, or pulling a Fred Flintstone and using my feet.
    The pedals turn, not just the left one, but the right one too.

  8. #8
    A God Without A Name
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    What I'd like is a hub that "shifts" from fixed to singlespeed.

    not so much for the fixie legitness. More for having a reverse gear.

  9. #9
    I'd rather be on my bike
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    ^ almost like a 2 speed kickback, you kick it back and it goes from fixed to freewheel?
    The pedals turn, not just the left one, but the right one too.

  10. #10
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    yeah! sort of, I'd even be okay if it had a trigger shifter. there have just been so many instances where a reverse gear would have helped!

  11. #11
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    The Nashbar steel SS cross bike sounds like what you're looking for.

  12. #12
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    Apologies if I didn't make it clear in the original message. My intention was not to go fixed, but to go SS freewheel. I ended up getting the CAAD frame and will be building up a geared bike from some hand-me-down parts on another roadie. Going to mount SKS raceblade fenders on it once the rainy season gets here (Northern california so it's not a lot of rain). Longer term I think I'll still be on the lookout for a steel singlespeed (not fixed). My intention was to mount drop bars on whatever I got so it wasn't going to be a flat bar bike (I like the posture of the drops and it allows me to get a solid spin/workout if I feel like but also have the slack uprights for more casual pace/posutre). The frustrating thing I have found on the sub $400 single speeds offered through bikes direct is reading about the potential shottiness of the initial builds; particularly with the wheels being out of true. I get a little worried ordering a bike online and instead would prefer to find one local, but searching didn't find anything that was up my alley. The CAAD came up in nice timing and I love the frame/geo on my current CAAD10 so I went ahead and pulled the trigger. The steel SS is now a longer term project, but it's definitely something I want to look at later on after getting some miles on this CAAD setup. Thanks everyone for the replies. If you know any NorCal places that sell some basic steel SS with drop bars I'm all ears.

  13. #13
    I'd rather be on my bike
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    Not local, but pretty basic. HiTen steel, drop bars, and single speed. Cheap as well.

    On Sale Framed Lifted Drop Bar U-Brake Bike S/S White/Red 56cm/22in up to 40% off
    The pedals turn, not just the left one, but the right one too.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by TenSpeed View Post
    I prefer SS for the lack of maintenance as well. If you go fixed with no brakes, and the chain breaks, you have no brakes. If you are going to run brakes, might as well run a freewheel at that point. If the chain breaks on my bike, I am screwed, as I will not be able to stop by any means other than either jumping off the bike, or pulling a Fred Flintstone and using my feet.
    I don't get the reason for saying you might as well go freewheel if you use brakes. I have a front brake on my fixed gear and I like it. Just because it's there doesn't mean I have to use it all the time. I'd never ride a fixed without brakes unless I was on a velodrome.

  15. #15
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    ^ yeah, the brakeless-fashion-thing is pretty ridiculous.

    I'd love to see some some empirical tests, but on my fixie at 20mph I'd bet it takes me 5x as long to stop (if not 10x) versus grabbing the front brake.

    I was browsing Sheldon Brown yesterday, and was surprised to see this:

    Some fixed-gear fans make a point of not using their brake except in an emergency. I am not sure that this is a good idea. Heavy-duty resisting is widely reputed to be bad for your legs, and to be counterproductive for building up muscles and coordination for forward pedaling.
    I try not to use my brakes, but it sounds like Sheldon must have used his pretty regularly.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by newfangled View Post
    ^ yeah, the brakeless-fashion-thing is pretty ridiculous.

    I'd love to see some some empirical tests, but on my fixie at 20mph I'd bet it takes me 5x as long to stop (if not 10x) versus grabbing the front brake.

    I was browsing Sheldon Brown yesterday, and was surprised to see this:



    I try not to use my brakes, but it sounds like Sheldon must have used his pretty regularly.
    Sheldon had some knee issues and other health issues...

    Can't see resistance pedalling as being a big problem....compare the amount of time you are putting power in as opposed to taking it out.

  17. #17
    I'd rather be on my bike
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    I love the look of a clean bike with no brakes. That is how I run my fakie. Haven't had an issue yet (knock on wood)
    The pedals turn, not just the left one, but the right one too.

  18. #18
    since 4/10/2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by TenSpeed View Post
    I love the look of a clean bike with no brakes. That is how I run my fakie. Haven't had an issue yet (knock on wood)
    it's a style thing for sure. except you still actually have a brake, albeit a coaster brake. the ridiculous things I have seen fixie riders do in traffic to deal with a sudden stop situation that they can't handle because they don't have brakes....it's just stupid.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agwan View Post
    What I'd like is a hub that "shifts" from fixed to singlespeed.

    not so much for the fixie legitness. More for having a reverse gear.
    The SRAM Torpedo sort of does that but you "shift" it with an Allen wrench in the end of the axle, so not much good for a quick change.
    On the other hand, if you want multiple speed fixie Sturmey Archer makes a 3 speed hub with a fixed cog.
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  20. #20
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    hows that feel when it shifts?

  21. #21
    A God Without A Name
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    Ok, that is awesome. but still. SHIFTER,

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